Ashish Kulkarni



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Ashish S.K. is known to be the most dedicated and colorful personality in the animation industry, this side of Hollywood. He has set up world-class animation studios in India, has created the finest original Indian animated contents and has successfully completed and marketed several animation films for studios in Hollywood over the last nine years.
In his present responsibility, Ashish is heading Reliance Animation as CEO. He has taken Reliance Animation to the global arena while carving a niche as the finest Indian animation studio for original IP creation.
Under his vision and able leadership Indian Animation Industry is emerging as a powerhouse in original content creation. He has nurtured and trained an entire generation of artists and animators in the country who are today capable of creating quality-animated content at per with their global counterparts. His efforts have made him the most respected and sought-after Indian animation guru in the global arena, being considered as the face of Indian animation. Positioned as an outsourcing hub for western giants in the field for decades, Indian Animation has finally managed to find respectability for its own content, which in itself is a huge step towards consolidation of the industry and charting a new way forward.
His dedicated hard work to empower artists in India with the latest technology to thrive and excel in the world of animation has taken him to remote villages in the country and pick up artistic talents and then grooming them. Ashish’s search found him sculptors from Mahabalipuram, Ramnagaram & Chanapatna and painters from Thanjavur, parts of Odissa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh & West Bengal. This earnest effort of Ashish to bring forth the creative talents of India with their roots in culture and heritage has been written about in a book by Thomas Friedman called the “The World is Flat”. While creating jobs for thousands of artists and animated professionals, he has been a mentor, an educationist and a constant inspiration to the creative youth of our country to excel in the art of storytelling through animation.
Ashish is the creator and executive producer of the magnum opus animated feature film “Krishna aur Kans”. It is India’s first animated stereoscopy 3D feature film, released in three languages – Hindi, in English as “Hey Krishna” and in Tamil as “Gokulathil Kannan. The movie opened to rave reviews worldwide on 3rd August last year. For the first time an Indian animated feature film was selected for the open category in Oscars. As a rare achievement, Oscars has preserved the screenplay of the film in their library for research work. It’s the first Indian animated film to have achieved this honor. Ashish also pioneered in using Flash, Photoshop and Aftereffects (tools mostly used to create web content) to create this magnum opus film. This path breaking effort has resulted in numerous studios adopting this process and thus creating thousands of jobs in India as well as globally. 
He bears the legacy of being one amongst the leading original animated content producer in the country. The latest feather in Ashish’s cap is the animated tele-series Shaktimaan which is now being telecasted on Nick channel. With the series gaining immense popularity, the second season is in the making. The series has been nominated among the top three 2D animated series in Asia.
Ashish has also produced ‘Little Krishna’, the first high-end 3D animated TV Series out of India. The series while winning numerous international and national accolades also became the first-ever Animation content produced out of India being beamed through Nickelodeon (India) and also went on to become the most popular kid’s program in the country. It is this series that started the original content revolution in the country and the confidence among the aspiring artists and technicians that India is capable of producing home made world class content. The DVD sales of the series is among the highest grosser’s in India. “Little Krishna” also won the Best Animated Series at ATF at Singapore and was nominated as best animated TV series for Annecy 2010 festival and New Yourk festival 2010. The series as the first Indian animated content is distributed in more than 30 countries across the world and has also been the most popular program in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Interestingly, majority populations in both these countries are Muslim and Krishna is a Hindu icon. Never before in Indian animation someone could manage to create such astounding religious neutral content with a religious icon. Ashish’s vision of equality in artistic pursuits is in its own small way paving the way to a much larger perspective for humanity through his creations.
Animated short film “The Bad Egg” produced by Ashish won two international gold medals in New York Film Festival and Digicon Japan as the best animated short film of the year. No Indian animated short film till then could manage such a feat. “The Bad Egg” made every animator and artist in the country believe that one does not need massive setups to create great content. What’s needed is knowledge dedication and creativity to establish one’s talent.
Big Bees Jr. a pre-scool content is also produced by Ashish. He is in the process of developing a television series called ”Big Bees” which is at the verge of getting into production. The objective of this series for Ashish is to educate the kids in India and also across the world about the importance of the plant kingdom in our lives and how pivotal it is to ensure that we preserve it for the sustenance of our planet earth. The series aims to help an entire generation of kids respect the ecological balance and grow up as responsible and informed global citizen. Over and above, Ashish has successfully created one of the most enviable project pipelines for his company consisting of animated feature films and television series, which are under active consideration.
His vision towards turning India into an Animation and VFX giant in the coming years has given birth to a phenomenal success story in education. Being one of the pioneers in animation education in the country after having designed the curriculums for Arena, Whistling Woods, Birla Institute of Technology, Manipal University, NIITE University, Annamalai University & Lovely Professional University, having served on the academic council of FTII Pune, Ashish initiated Reliance AIMS (Animation & Infotainment Media School) one of the most premium Animation and VFX education venture in the country. With its unmatched course curriculum and training methodology the academy is creating next generation animation and VFX professionals with unmatched skill sets. It is an academy that puts storytelling and film making in the forefront, gives the students opportunity to learn hand on live action film making along with the courses and nurture their creative instincts by making them industry ready professionals with in-depth knowledge of the tools and proficiency in film making on a whole. Under Ashish’s able guidance Reliance AIMS is getting even bigger and is now getting launched all over India with its franchisee model so that aspiring students all over the country can avail the superlative courses.
Ashish, 47, is a science graduate with a Diploma in Marketing and Sales Management, and one in Public Relations. He lives in Pune with his wife Suvarna and their daughter, Awani. Despite his hectic and creatively challenging schedule, Ashish finds time for movies, music and a rare hobby to fly remote-controlled model airplanes.
Ashish has worked in jadooWorks, Colour Chips India Limited, Primesite – Mudra Communications, Nava Bharat Media Services, Dinshaw’s Frozen Foods, Hitkari Fibres Limited, Eureka Forbes Limited and The Hitavada.
Ashish has successfully completed several national and international projects in Animation.  He was an Executive Producer on “Multicolour Jackal “a film produced as a part of Animated World Tales for S4C channel of UK. He was a line producer on the “MUCHA LUCHA” a Warner Brothers production for two seasons. Ashish was also an Animation Production Executive on “HIGGLYTOWN HEROS” a Disney pre school Series produced by Happy Nest Production USA.  He has been an Executive Producer on several Advertising films for All Out, Flying Machine, Max Candy & Max Ice-cream for HLL, Nestle Munch, Veneta Cucine, Kellogg’s etc.
Ashish, actively works with FICCI, ABAI, AKSHAYA PATRA, WHISTLING WOODS INTERNATIONAL, CGSOCIETY, MCCIA, VES and many other industry and social associations. He was elected on as an associate member on International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, New York, well known for giving iEMMY Awards.
He is a co-chairman of FICCI Animation and Gaming Forum and Chairman of MCCIA Animation & Gaming committee. Ashish has been a final jury member on iEmmys, Kid’s iEmmys, VES, 24 FPS, FICCI BAF, New York Film Festival, Banff Awards, Dada Saheb Phalke Awards etc.
Ashish was honored with:
·         Mover & Shaker’s Award at the 24FPS – 2007.
·         National Education Leadership Award from IEDRA (Indian Economic Development & Research Association) 2009.
·         Indira Super Achiever’s Award from Indira Group of Industries 2009.
·         National Education Leadership Award from Indian Economic Development And Research Association 2009/10.
·         Shiksha Bharati Award from Indian Achiever’s Forum 2010/11.
·         Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievements And Distinguishes Services To The Nation 2012.
·         Pride of India from Citizen’s Integration Peace Society 2013.
·         Glory of India – Global Achiever’s Award for quality in Business and Education from Indian Achiever’s Forum 2013.
With the burning desire to turn India as the global leader in Animation production, Ashish is striving ahead, aiming for perfection, dedication and perseverance. He is relentless in his pursuit of taking Indian animated content to the global market and providing the artistic talents in our country a direction, a solid route map to take Indian Animation Industry to its heights.

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